ST&D: two more squishies!

I had a nice surprise waiting in the mailbox yesterday.

We’d had our post held while we were away, so there was a big wodge of mail in the box, and among the rubbish and bills there were TWO squishy envelopes with familiar names on the back.

First there were these two lovely envelope blocks from first-time OCA contributor Tracy at It’s a T-Sweets Day:

Then two envelope blocks and a fabulous postcard block from the ever-generous serial contributor Lynn at Tialys.

 

 

 

 

 

And just look at the tiny note she included in the package – she’s really got into the postal theme, and I love it! She’s got a real talent for choosing fabrics, and I’m always excited to see what she’s chosen. That ombre background on the postcard block is a wonderful contrast to the vintage sepia look of the postcards.

 

I now have 15 out of the 30 blocks I need for this quilt, so a big thank you to everyone who has contributed so far.

ST&D, postcard 3

This is my final postcard, and I thought I’d do something a bit different.

I had some lovely greeny-aqua fabric with images of the Eiffel Tower on it in white. But it was just too bright and too aqua for this quilt, except perhaps in small quantities, where the print would be lost. So I played that old, old quilter’s trick, and turned it over. Using the back has toned down the colour beautifully and given it a textured, vintage feel. The idea of using this Eiffel Tower print led me to the remnants of a piece of very beautiful fabric given to me by Lynn at Tialys. I found a section which was large enough to become the front of my ‘Un Souvenir de Paris’ postcard. It’s not very teal-y but it plays nicely with the background, and I blanket-stitched it on with a peacock green thread to add definition between the postcard and the background. One of my remaining stamp transfers toned well with the butterfly in the corner, so that was stitched onto the back, together with a fabric air mail sticker from a piece of fabric generously donated by Margaret of The Crafty Creek.

I also want to let the whole Ovarian Cancer quilt group know that I had a phone conversation the other day with the Director of Fundraising for Ovarian Cancer Australia, during which she told me that our quilts are incredibly popular at their fundraising events, that they raise hundreds of dollars when the quilts are offered at the live auctions, and please don’t stop making and sending them!

So, ladies, huge congratulations on your efforts, and while you’re still happy to make blocks, we’ll be able to make excellent use of them 🙂

 

ST&D: A couple of corners

Squishy season has arrived, I’d say…

Today I received these beauties, two of the four corner blocks for Signed, Tealed & Delivered. Don’t you absolutely love that wonderful cream background fabric, with its line illustrations of postcards? It was an inspired choice, I feel. Thank you so very much, Sue, they’re really lovely, and now that they’re here, I can start laying out the blocks on my design wall. Of course, I’ll be tweaking things endlessly right up to the last moment, but I do love to watch the quilt top growing as the blocks come in.

Next week is my last opportunity to get my final postcard block done before we go away, so I’d better start thinking. I’ve been diverted from it by starting to put together curtains for Miz Lizzie the caravan; two pairs done, two more to go. She’s in the workshop right now, having her fridge serviced, so I can’t put them up and admire them yet. Soon – early next week, probably.

I must remember to sort out a travel sewing kit for the trip. It’ll have to be small, space is tight enough on the motorbike as it is. Hmm. Maybe hand quilting one of my hatbox blocks….

Oh, and the new steam iron is great! That ceramic sole plate is a bit of a game changer…

 

ST&D: another squishy!

I do love getting those nice fat envelopes in the mail.

On Friday, it was this lovely envelope block for Signed, Tealed & Delivered from Carla. She has the most enviable fabric collection – those gorgeous cats on the envelope lining fabric make me smile!

I’m going to try and get my last postcard block done this week – and don’t forget, if you’ve agreed to make a block or two but are running out of time or life is dishing up a large serve of busy, let me know and I’ll fill in for you.

That’s seven blocks up on the design wall now, and I know more are on their way 🙂 We’re looking good!

ST&D: the ribbon and the stamp

And another two! I’m enjoying making these so much that I’m having a hard time keeping up with my own ideas 🙂

Every quilt I make for OCA has the teal ribbon on it somewhere, and here’s where it’s going on this quilt. I wanted to make use of the stamps on the brown paper backing, and thought a parcel of some sort would be the way to go. And then, of course, it needed a ribbon round it, and what better way to finish off than with a teal ribbon bow?

Once of the planned central blocks was a large representation of a stamp. Originally I was going to do something with appliqué, but having achieved some success with the small transfers, I went for it with a bigger one. Australia Post issued a series of ‘Australian Road Trip’ illustrated stamps in 2012, and this is the one for the Great Barrier Reef, right there on my doorstep. It was too good to miss 🙂 The bright colours called for a darker surround and gave me an excuse to use this floral fabric which I’ve been hoarding for a while.

I have one more postcard block to go and then I’ve made the 5 blocks I committed to. If anyone in the Ovarian Cancer group is finding themselves short of time and can’t managed the block(s) they’ve offered to make, just let me know, as I have plenty of time (and inspiration!) and can very easily make more.

While I’m thinking about postal issues, we’re off on a motorbike road trip on 14 October, returning on 29 October. Anyone who’s posted anything in the last couple of days can be reasonably assured it will be delivered before we go, but can I ask anyone planning to mail anything soon to hold off for about 3 weeks, so that your lovely squishy doesn’t languish in the depths of the post office while our mail is held? Anything posted after 20th October should be fine.

That’s enough postal stuff for today. Now, will it be hand quilting, or a spot of embroidery….?

 

ST&D, postcard 2

I thought I’d change things round for this second one.

The last one had all the fancy business on the front. This time, I’ve made more effort with the back and the actual background. I’ve made a panel of hand-pieced EPP hexagons for the front, the classic patchwork look, using a variety of teal scraps. But combining that fairly plain front with another plain back didn’t do it for me.

Scans, right reading

Reversed, to print on transfer paper

I went to my letter and postcard pile (I get so few now, I like to keep them to read again), and I sorted out ones that had nice stamps and postmark franks. I scanned them, retouched them, cropped them out and arranged them on a single A4 page in Word, at pretty much actual size. Then I took a screen shot of the page, opened it in Preview* and reversed it so it was now a mirror image of itself. You can see where I’m going with this? Yup, I’m making transfers. I printed the reversed image onto an A4 sheet of HP transfer paper. My printer uses pigment inks, so transfers printed this way stand up OK to being washed once they’re ironed onto fabric and heat set. Follow the instructions on your transfer paper package for the best way of applying the transfer to fabric. Once the image was transferred, I cut out each stamp and postmark, and then stitched them down onto the background.

At this point, I have to make a confession. I cut the background piece too small, so I had to sew a bit back on. Being me, I couldn’t stand the horribly slightly visible seam, so I came up with the row of decorative stamps and postmarks down the side. I actually love the way this looks, so all’s well that ends well, don’t you think?

I have some stamps and postmarks left, on a ‘brown paper’ back-ground. I must think of a cunning plan for using them up! Much too pretty to throw out…

 

*I’m working on a Mac, and the way of producing a reversed image may differ on your computer.

ST&D: postcard progress

It’s not done yet, but the hardest part is over.

I laid the design on my lightbox, and traced the outlines of the drawing onto fabric scraps, which I then cut out and arranged on a fabric backing, ensuring there was plenty of excess around the sides. I photographed this and made a large scale colour printout to help me with placement later. I inverted all the scraps and sprayed the pieces one by one with 505 basting spray in my hi-tech spray booth (aka a large old cardboard box with all the flaps taped out into a sort of tunnel; it keeps the stuff inside instead of all over my sewing room). I then placed them on the backing in the correct order, following the printout. A quick press with a hot iron under a sheet of baking paper to set the glue, and then I placed the fabric rectangle on a piece of tear-away stabiliser, with the stabiliser grain running horizontally, following the horizontal strips of fabric. This makes it easier to tear away afterwards. I basted the fabric and stabiliser together round the outside, and then I was good to go.

Sewing machines all differ with stitch lengths and widths. I did a small test piece on some scrap to see what gave me the best version of blanket stitch. I wanted the stitch that caught the edge of the fabric to be small, and the interval quite large, for minimal visibility. I also decided that life was too short to change the thread colour for every piece, so I selected a pale grey blue for all the stitching.

Once all the pieces were stitched down, I removed the basting and tore away as much stabiliser as I could before passing out with boredom deciding I’d removed enough. I clipped away as much of the fabric layers as I could get my small scissors into (I’ll probably be unable to resist having another go at it later!) and then gave the whole thing a good pressing. And there you have it. My Greetings from Tropical Queensland postcard front, good to go (apart from the embroidered message). The back is a piece of cake, and I’ll have a go at that tomorrow. I’ll show the finished thing when it’s done.

Once this first postcard block is done, I’ll make another and much simpler postcard front for my second block. I feel some hexies coming on, or possibly a scrappy block… I’ll probably also make the postcard front and back sit at different angles for a bit of interest.

Time for a cuppa and a well-earned piece of chocolate 🙂

 

Signed, Tealed & Delivered: Ready, set…. go!

And here we are again. Time for another Ovarian Cancer donation quilt.

Signed, Tealed & Delivered has a postal theme, as you can see from the original sketch I showed some months ago. The response to my call for block contributors has been outstanding, and I will be emailing everyone who volunteered with confirmation of what they’re making, attaching a pattern if necessary.

As always, the colour scheme is based around various shades of teal and cream, in 100% cotton quilting weight fabrics. However, with this quilt, I’m encouraging the use of other colours in the envelope linings and postcard fronts, to ensure this quilt is lively, colourful and varied. Pink, apricot, orange, emerald, dark blue and lilac are all possible additions.

As you know, there’s a paper piecing pattern for the ‘lined envelope’ blocks, and it’s pretty simple, so shouldn’t present too many difficulties. The ‘postcard’ blocks can be pieced or appliqué (personally, I’ll be using appliqué), and as you can see, there’s a postcard front and a back on each block. I think it would be a lovely idea to put your name on the address portion of the postcard back but not, of course, your address! It could be permanent marker, embroidery, etc. If anyone would prefer not to do this, let me know and I’ll let the others know that it’s not happening, so the blocks are all consistent. How you achieve the postcard is completely up to you, but if you need ideas, I’m happy to offer suggestions. Email me!

The four large envelope blocks in the corners can be achieved with simple piecing of triangles. Finally, there are the centre blocks, the stamp, the frank and the OCA ribbon. I have a brave volunteer for embroidering the frank, and I’ll be doing the stamp and ribbon blocks myself. The binding will be in the ‘airmail’ stripe fabric I sourced previously. I’m not sure what colour the sashing will be this time; I’ll wait to see what the block layout looks like so I can check what colour the quilt is ‘asking’ for.

The sizing follows the previous quilts. The blocks will finish at 12 inches square, and I’d ask you to give me an unfinished block of AT LEAST 12½ inches square, preferably a bit larger if possible. This will ensure that when the blocks are quilted I still have plenty of leeway for trimming out.

Ideally, I’ll have all the blocks in by the end of January, to give me plenty of time to quilt and assemble (I think I need to do something a bit more elaborate than quilted wiggly lines this time!), so hopefully that’s enough time for everyone to get their block or two sorted out. I’ll be posting the incoming blocks as they arrive, to keep everyone’s creativity flowing.

So here we go. Time to start sorting out your teal-ish fabrics, fabulous OCA Quilt Volunteers 🙂